Gulabo Sitabo writer Juhi Chaturvedi has been accused of plagiarism by screenwriter Rajeev Aggrawal's son Akira. Alleging that Juhi copied the story originally written by his late father, Akira filed a complaint at Mumbai’s Juhu Police Station and sent the Gulabo Sitabo makers a legal notice with the help of advocate Rizwan Siddiqui. Gulabo Sitabo is scheduled to release on Amazon Prime Video on June 12. The advocate has demanded to see the script of Gulabo Sitabo before its release.
"Juhi Chaturvedi, who has written the story of the film “Gulabo Sitabo” has been accused of plagiarism by Akira Agarwal. Akira Agarwal is the son of a known writer late Rajeev Agarwal who had submitted his story in a contest known as “Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest” of which Juhi Chaturvedi was a Jury Member. The said story was submitted in the month March 2018 and shortlisted. On the 28th June 2018, the final script of the story was also submitted for the contest and all Jury Members have full access to the same," Siddiqui said in a release.
"Aakira Agarwal was shocked to see the trailer of the film “Gulabo Sitabo” as the story, background and theme of the film looked exactly the same as compared to his father’s script, which is very unique and could not have been copied by any unknown third party. But here the person involved was a Jury member who had full access to his father’s script. He, therefore, approached the Screenwriters Association for Mediation. The Screenwriters Association asked Juhi Chaturvedi to submit her script. However, she failed to submit her script and blatantly denied that she never had access to the script even though it was mentioned in the terms and conditions of 'Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest'," he added.
It was discovered later by the Advocate Rizwan Siddiquee that Screenwriters Association is directly associated with 'Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest' and promotes it, therefore, the Association is not the right body to mediate, arbitrate or adjudicate on any matter concerning the contest.
"Besides, the Screenwriters Association did not inform about its conflict of interest to Akira Agarwal before becoming Mediators, which was legally, morally and ethically wrong. Accordingly, Juhi Chaturvedi was once again called upon by Advocate Rizwan Siddiquee to submit her script and story for verification and to remove any doubts of his client. However, she has till date refused to do so," Siddiqui said.
Accordingly, a police complaint about cheating, criminal breach of trust and copyright infringement has been filed against her and also the Police have been requested to seize the infringed copy of the work from the office of the Producers.
Rising Sun Films came in Juhi's defence on the allegations of plagiarism, saying: "To begin with, Juhi’s concept for the film was registered in 2018, much before the contest. Furthermore, Juhi never received a copy of the supposedly copied script. This has been independently confirmed by the script writing contest organizers as well. Lastly, our film’s story is different from that sent out in the notice. It is surprising how grave allegations are being made solely on the basis of a 2 minute 41 second trailer."
"On May 29th, SWA ruled in favour of Juhi. Clearly the allegers are upset as the SWA decision didn’t go in their favor. Releasing the notice to the press, harassing us on social media, seems to be a deliberate attempt to malign Juhi and damage the film. We have full faith in our film. At this time, when we have taken the bold decision to release the film on OTT, these baseless allegations only create unnecessary controversy. We request the press to stand by us and condemn the behavior of these allegers and their lawyer for resorting to such tactics only for press, limelight and ulterior motives," the statement read further.